Fancy Coffee Friday: And now a message from our sponsor…

Sarah’s been busy and feels bad about not writing a blog post.

Check back next week. That’s about all I can type… because I’m a cat.

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Fancy Coffee Friday: Call and Response

I tend to ponder over personal relationships, in the general sense, a great deal. My pondering isn’t necessarily over my own personal relationships, though they do come into play in my musings on the subject, but more about how people interact and form relationships in general. So, it wasn’t surprising that earlier this week I got to thinking about relationships again when my timelines on Facebook and Twitter had a great many articles dealing with sociological aspects of the building and maintaining personal relationships.

After reading many of these new articles and their dealings with the trials and tribulations with how things work, or not, within the general population, an article I’d read earlier this year from The Atlantic came to mind: “Master of Love“. The article was rather fascinating, and after my initial reading of it, I had thought about my relationship with Mr. Muse.

We’re by no means any sort of “perfect” couple – we have our ups-and-downs just like any other couple out there in the world. However, there is something that we do quite well – when one of us asks for the attention of the other, it is responded to positively. It’s not unusual for one of us to see something interesting or complete something important that we seek out the other to “come see” whatever was interesting or important to us. Whichever of us was sought drops what we’re doing, or quickly finishes it up, and dons the appropriate footwear to go see the interesting or important thing.

The request for attention is responded to positively, so therefore a trust is built that the partner can be relied upon to respond in the future.

So, as I drove along this week on my commute and pondered, I began to see the correlation between this call-and-response, not just for marriage, but in all relationships. It works no matter the relationship type it is applied to, romantic, parental, friendly, or working.

I thought about the call-and-responses of people with whom I’ve talked to online, and how, say, a reply to a tweet, which in turn has a reply, has generally created a positive call-and-response. The communication is reciprocated and as long as things don’t get offensive, creepy, or too-weird-for-even-the-Internet, a chain of positive call-and-responses is created and a friendship is created.

This works negatively as well. A person who replies to a tweet and receives nothing in response, particularly if the originating tweep is not someone famous by even the most remote standards, has had a negative call-and-response and is most likely to choose to not interact with that original tweeter any further. A reply chain that turns offensive, creepy, or too-weird-for-even-the-Internet, will also generally be considered a negative call-and-response and interaction will cease.

As I thought about all of these things, I thought about relationships I’ve had, and have, both in-person and online, and my feelings on whether I thought of them as successes or failures. Those that are successful, even if I may not interact with those people for months at a stretch, work because when interaction occurs, there is a positive call-and-response. I may email or text someone (or they, me), and weeks or months could go by because, let’s face it: people get busy and we get distracted (raises my hand), but when a reply occurs – that reply goes over what the other person called to attention.

Whatever is interesting or important, from a personal success to a funny anecdote, the person responding focuses attention on that item. The conversation, or chain of responses, continues, with new attention grabbers tacked on, and the cycle continues. Those relationships that fail do so because one or both people fail at responding to the call for attention.

I’ve sent out a “call” to this or that person time-and-again and the response, if there is one, does not focus on the item of attention that was pointed out – but rather brings up something other than what I found was interesting or important. A negative call-and-response, no trust is built (or what was there was broken), and regardless the type of relationship – it ultimately fails.

As I get older, I find it humorous to discover, or be enlightened to, the reasons that events, relationships, or daily living worked out the way it did. When I was younger, I would begrudge things that didn’t work out and in my wrapping of Catholic guilt, would blame myself for the failures. Now, I look at things from a far less emotional view, reflective and open to the knowledge that I’m not solely responsible for every interaction, positive or negative, only the parts I took in them.

So, here is to personal reflection, and growth, and I look forward to a lot more of it.

As you have gotten older, what is a realization you’ve come to about something that has bothered you previously?


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Fancy Coffee Friday: Hobbies with a Capital H

adulting3There are days where being an adult just sucks. Why, you ask? Because you come to the realization that things you loved to do as a child, hobbies that took up a great deal of your existence are no longer feasible.

Such was the case for me this last week.

Growing up, the phrase, “Were you born in a barn?!” was uttered from my Mom more than a handful of times. Now, I was present at my birth, but I was told I was born on the first sunny day after some especially wintery weather – including a blizzard – when I was supposed to make my debut into the world (February 29th, 1976). Instead, I stayed in the warmth of the womb until March 12th, and entered the world at a hospital nearly with the dawn on a sunny day. I’m considerate like that.

Anyway… while I wasn’t born in a barn, I WAS raised in one. My early days were spent on the back of an obstinate and cantankerous Shetland pony named, Tommy (if I wasn’t riding behind my Mom on She’s a Dandy Girl). Horses were a huge part of my life. I was in the barn, on the pony, on the horse, in the saddle, in the manger, in the show ring,  standing on the back of…. you get the idea.

I was one with all things equine.

Yep. Done.

Yep. Done.

As an adult, I’ve tried. There was “Pal”, aka Dynamite’s JetFlow… a severely overweight palamino that helped me build my confidence back up and was just happy to plod along at a walk. I loved Pal, but he had severe feet problems and after a few years he had to be put down. Lesson: getting a horse from people who thought it was better to overindulge an animal on “candy” was a hard on the old heartstrings.

Then, I got some wild hair to buy and Arabian mare. Mares and I don’t typically get along. This should have been a big indication of how things would proceed. That would be… me, riding in an ambulance to the ER trying to piece together the previous 8 hours of the day. Eventually, I remembered the previous eight hours, but the horse has now been “handed down” to my niece who gets along with her just fine.

This last week I was contacted about a nice, friendly gelding (that’s a castrated male) who was in need of a home and I felt my inner equine-lover swelling with interest and desire. He was gorgeous. SURE, he had a big ass, but I got out to see him as soon as I could.

Our first introduction had him licking my hand… a lot. Then, we walked through the field, and he took off farting. I was still smitten.

I wanted to take him home with me. Really.

I dreamt about him all night. I kept waking up all that first night, and 48 hours later, I came to the conclusion that no matter how much I wanted him… I just didn’t have the time for him.

Adulthood comes with bonus features like “realizing you no longer have time for…” insert your favorite activity. For me, it’s things like “I don’t have time for a horse.”

Crocheting and other needle crafts are something that lies in wait for winter. Gardening and kayaking is summertime. Hiking is year-round. Writing is “any time I damn well please”. But, adulthood means that I have realized that I just don’t have the time to spend with another living being who needs the time spent. I have a husband, friends, family, a job, cats, chickens, and goats (and more)… and all of them require a little time every day. I just didn’t have enough time for another living being who needed me.

How is this even HAPPENING to me?!

How is this even HAPPENING to me?!

Maybe that’s the a good thing about adulting, realizing that there is only so much of you to go around and that, as much as you’d like to give more, what you have available isn’t enough for the one(s) you want to give it to.

Have you had to give up a beloved hobby in adulthood that you partook of in your younger years?

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Fancy Coffee Friday: Things

This week I have been thinking about a variety of things. Things I like. Things I dislike. Things I’m going. Things I’m reading. So, today, I’m just going to subject you to some of the things and my thoughts on them. But, not to worry, this won’t be ALL THE THINGS, because that’s just too many things.

Overuse of Words

There are some words that we as a society need to just stop using – or use only when they are exactly the right word, particularly when it comes to bad (or only unfortunate) things happening. Not everyone is a “Hero” – please stop calling being a decent human “heroic”. Yes, the flooding in the Southern USA, the wildfires in the Western USA, the earthquake in Italy are all awful, tragic things, but they are not “apocalyptic”.


The soap company called – they want their boxes back. The irony is, some of today’s post involves standing on one. But there seem to be an awful lot of people who are stepping up onto soapboxes just to shout about every tiny gnat of a subject just to have people pay attention to them. It doesn’t matter, build a bridge and get over it.


Reading is an excellent pastime and way to expand one’s horizons. People should do more of it, and not in the form of endlessly scrolling through their Facebook or Twitter feeds. I’ve recently subscribed to The Sun Magazine after a friend had given me a couple stacks of old issues which I proceeded to work my way through. I’ve also finished reading The Beekeeper’s Bible and have now started on Civil Disobedience and other Essays.


IMG_20160826_104017This has been an odd year for the garden. Plants that were doing really well suddenly went downhill, others died, and late-planted vegetables all started to really take off. I’m going to have a lot of tomatoes this year (who knew that removing suckers and keeping my indeterminate varieties trimmed up would make such a massive difference). My Scarlet Runner beans are starting to get “beany” and I picked my first fistful last night. My watermelons are massive, the birdhouse gourds are gourd-geous (heh… I couldn’t resist), and I’m going to have ripe eggplants this weekend! Also, I finally figured out that a patch of plants in my goats’ corral were ground cherries. Guess I’ll be eating ground cherries in some form this year.

“I’m uncomfortable”

A cousin began saying this a couple years ago, and I laughed about the simplicity of it; I thought, “That’ll probably never work to say it”. But this week, I’ve said it twice in conversations with people who took things too far. Curiously enough, it worked. I stated “Now I’m uncomfortable,” and both people apologized. I thanked them and we moved on. Now, I’m making it my mission to say it whenever I become uncomfortable with the direction or tone a conversation is taking.

Sparkling Water

Why have I not tried this stuff before this month? I had essentially stopped drinking soda years ago because all the sugar and crap made my stomach hurt. I still like the occasional soda made with cane sugar or a nice “dry” soda, but then I tried sparkling water. It’s fizzy, it’s doesn’t have sugar in any form added, but it has flavor. I’m actually using it to wean myself from evening cocktails. After drinking three quarts of plain water all day, I craved something with flavor! Unfortunately, adult beverages were my go-to option, complete with all those empty calories (and feeling like crap the next day). Sparkling water is now my evening go-to beverage.

Slip Shorts

As someone who does not possess a “thigh gap”, I avoided wearing dresses during the summer months because of chaffing. Years ago I saw a product for newly-labeled hipsters called “Bicycle Bloomers” and I thought they were brilliant. I didn’t buy any and essentially forgot about them until this year. It’s been hot and sticky and I didn’t want to wear dress slacks to the office all the time. I thought, “There has to be a product out there to make wearing dresses more comfortable”. There is: slip shorts. SO MUCH BETTER than chaffing! Ladies, you’re welcome.

Cedric the Roaming Gnome found a friend at Scaturo's!

Cedric the Roaming Gnome found a friend at Scaturo’s!

Camera App

Prisma. Take a photo. Open it in Prisma. Apply a filter you like that makes your mediocre image look better (it’s not Louvre-worthy, but better), post to your social media account. Have fun with it. Just don’t think you’ll get 15 minutes of fame for your filter-applying skills, alright.


Enough already. No. Really. If you have something constructive to say, perhaps a solution to an actual problem, by all means – please speak up. If you’re name-calling, body-shaming, oh-my-god-Becky-look-at-her-butt-it’s-so-big’ing, just keep it to yourself. You’re part of the problem that needs a solution.

Being 40

The great things about being 40 that I’ve discovered this year:
1. Makeup is a hassle – and people finally have stopped asking me if I’m sick when I don’t have it on.
2. Being told so-and-so doesn’t like you and literally not caring even a little bit.
3. Becoming bolder and calling people on their bullshit.
4. Becoming even more comfortable in my skin – I didn’t know it was possible.
5. Somehow I’ve developed a more pronounced “Do Not Fuck With Me” persona.

And thus concludes this weeks post.

What are the things you’ve been into, out of, or wondering about this week?

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Fancy Coffee Friday: 72 Hours in Door County

Welcome to Camp Cocktail!

Welcome to Camp Cocktail!

You probably noticed that last week I failed to post a Fancy Coffee Friday installation, and like much of my writing, I had every intention of hammering out some thoughts. However, those thoughts were pushed to the side due to events of a very busy week and having to prepare Camp Cocktail for a weekend on the road with friends. The core of our group of happy campers has been venturing off to fields and forests together for over 20 years, we’ve acquired some new members over the years, but most of us have been camping, cooking, drinking, debating, and laughing together for over two decades. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.

Last weekend’s adventure was prompted by many years of our Swedish friend E asking to head to Door County. She and her husband, T, have lived here in the USA nearly 10 years and they’d yet to head up to “The Door”. So, remembering her request, I laid on the guilt of “Remember in our planning, everyone, that E has been asking to camp in Door County for years now. I think it’s high time we finally did it.” E and T were the first to select and book a site at Potawatomi State Park and the rest of us followed suit.

Mr Muse and I were the first on scene last Thursday, even after stopping at my parents’ house to do some computer trouble-shooting. Camp was quickly set up (because with the teardrop camper, set-up takes less than 10 minutes including parking the camper) and just as we were stepping back to admire the newest iteration of Camp Cocktail, friends B & D pulled past, with silly waving on all parts, and we headed off to the park store to get some firewood.* After the arrival of everyone else, we discussed the first major decision: whose campsite would be “base camp”? This is not a terribly serious decision, but an important one, as “base camp” is where all the activities happen – even of the major activity of the weekend is sitting by the campfire reading. Yes, that happens; yes, there are photos to prove it.

The next major decision was “What are we doing all weekend?” The short answer: hiking, wineries, distilleries, and who knows what else!

Friday morning found us all at the picnic tables of Base Camp, having our breakfasts or coffees, and planning the day. Since we’re all spent 4-6 hours of driving the day before, getting out and moving was priority number one. A suggestion to have lunch at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant was also made. So, we loaded into two vehicles and worked our way north, stopping at Peninsula State Park and hiking 4+ miles. After having worked up an appetite on our hike, we headed north again towards Al Johnson’s in Sister Bay. Yes, it does have goats on the roof.

Our bellies full of food, I mentioned that we couldn’t possibly go all the way to Door County with our friend E and NOT drive all the way to the tip of the peninsula in Gill’s Rock. E agreed, and we piled into vehicles again and headed further north-by-northeast and drove to the end of the peninsula; Washington Island, it was decided, would be saved for another adventure. After milling about the ferry dock and checking out the two gift shops full of things none of us needed, but plenty of things that made us laugh, we got back in the vehicles with our first adult beverage stop in mind: Island Orchard Cider. There were four ciders available for the standard tasting, Mr and I preferred the original recipe (Brut Apple Cider) over all the others, but they had a Pear Ginger Nitro cider as well that could be purchased by the glass. A very full tasting room, with more people coming through the door, had our group of 8 making our purchases and heading off to the next place we saw and that the lead vehicle turned into; that happened to be Orchard Country Winery & Market.

They had a nice set-up for tasting, a packed tasting room, as was their market, which was full of locally grown fruits and locally-made food products. We made our selections, were happy with the majority of what we tried and between the 8 of us: purchased 2 cases of wine. After loading up our goods, it was off to the next stop: Harbor Ridge Winery. Some of our party really liked their wines; I was not one of these people, though between Mr and I we found enough that we liked to get another half-case. The wine I liked best was one called Seven Seas which happens to be from Captain’s Walk Winery in Green Bay. However! Also, if you’re in the market for wine-, or adult-beverage, related gifts – this certainly would be a one-stop-shop. There were gadgets and gifts galore, and an almost endless display of fun signs.

The best part of Harbor Ridge Winery? Right next door is Wisconsin Cheese Masters where you can literally taste every single one of the cheeses they have in the case. No foolin’! The only cheese I wasn’t exactly thrilled about was one called “The Rattlesnake”, which was a habanero pepper cheddar with tequila. You’re supposed to smell the cheese first to pick up the tequila because once you pop the morsel in your maw – all bets of tasting anything else for the next hour are off. Every single one of us who tried this cheese ended up coughing. Too hot! My tongue felt like it had a chemical burn for a few hours afterwards. It was then back to the campground.

Cedric the Roaming Gnome found a friend at Scaturo's!

Cedric the Roaming Gnome found a friend at Scaturo’s!

Saturday met us with rain to start the day and those of our group who were going to cook breakfast over the campfire decided that they didn’t want to deal with the rain and we should all go to breakfast. Scaturo’s Baking Company and Café was picked and despite being gluten-free, I found plenty to eat (plus, the home-fries were safe). Everyone was satisfied with their selections and over-full in some cases, so it was off to Door Peninsula Winery and Door County Distillery. Having grown up not far from Door County, day trips were the norm and stopping at Door Peninsula Winery was usual and customary. Thing is, their wines have always been way too sweet for me, and they still are. That said, their sister company, Door County Distillery, is new and I was thoroughly impressed with most of what was tried. Mr and I selected the Gin, Bourbon, and – just because it was different, the Cherry Bluff Infusion bitters. The gin was very citrusy and I honestly would consider pouring a little bit over ice and sipping it on a hot summer’s day. The bourbon was good, and the Cherry Bluff Infusion bitters really caught me by surprise – so much so that we bought a bottle. Friends B & D also tried the: Vodka, Cherry Vodka, Apple Brandy, Cherry Brandy, and the Java Infusion. I got to sip each of those and I really liked everything except the plain Vodka. The distillery also had some Bourbon-infused Walnut Caramel Milk Chocolate fudge. I bought a quarter pound of it to take with us.

We wrapped up there and then ventured to Door 44 Winery, sister company to Parallel 44 Winery, and we shouldered our way into another packed tasting room. The wines there are good. Really good, so after trying our 5 wines, plus 1 bonus wine, and then a separate sample of their ice wine, we headed out to the vehicle with another six bottles. It was then off to the 26th Annual Classic & Wooden Boat Festival at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay which six of our eight wanted to check out. I’d never gone to the museum before and while the two who weren’t interested made themselves comfortable outside, the rest of us went in and checked out the facts on shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. There were a ton of model ships, lots of stories, and I’m glad we went in to check it out while attending the boat festival. The festival itself, at least the part where you get to see the boats and not venture onto the midway area, was small but the watercraft were beautiful. We talked to a lot of people who displayed their handmade boats, canoes, and kayaks, and it was nice to see people so enthusiastic about their hobby.

After watching the SikaFlex Challenge, and ensuing destruction of the boats made, we headed across the street to Sonny’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria for a cold beverage and some food. We were all happy with our beverages which the exception of the Banana Margarita (yes, weird…. that’s why it was ordered) which was not really banana-y at all. Those of us who ordered pizza (they have gluten free pizza crusts!!) all enjoyed our selections, though, T wasn’t going to rate his deep-fried-crust “Montanara Style” pie as “excellent”. The crust was “too greasy”, but still good for flavor. It was then back to the campground where our carload headed to the tower at the park and climbed up, quads burning, to get a view of the harbor area. We made our way back down and piled back in the car to take “the scenic route” back to the campsite, circling through the north half of the park.

Sunday morning dawned quiet, our tent-camping friends having broken camp, packed up, and heading out by 7:30 as they typically do, while those of us not sleeping on the ground made a bit more leisurely time of things. Mr and I enjoyed our fruit and yogurt, our caffeinated beverages of choice, and as we chatted with B & D about plans, we were startled from our conversation by the blood-curdling scream of a young girl who was climbing the escarpment a couple sites over. It finally dawned on me that she was screaming, “SNAKE!”, and we laughed and then noticed she’d abandoned her little brother of about 3 years of age where she tucked tail and ran. Thankfully, their mom was near and after rescuing her son, she headed back up to snap a photo of the offending snake. We laughed. Then we headed out to get in some hiking before we were stuck in the vehicle for another 4+ hours for the ride home.

To wrap up what has become a lengthy post, this was a great weekend. There were very few mosquitoes in the park because all of the rain hitting the state kept breaking up before it got to them, no-see-ums, however, were a different story and I have a collection of bites ringing around my ankles. We restocked our wine rack, got some fudge, saw new things, finally got to Door County for E, and most importantly, we spent time with friends-who-are-family. I think right there is the best thing about the whole weekend.

*The Wisconsin State Park system took a hit in the budget under the current administration – support your state parks!

Do you camp?
Where was the last place you went?
Your next place?
Your favorite place?

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Fancy Coffee Friday: Kicking the Bucket List

This last week I was chatting with a friend who was dealing with a medical issue and I joked that they were an “old fart” and “falling apart”. They responded that they should get working on accomplishing items on their Bucket List. Given my sister’s passing away last month, I began to ponder my own Bucket List, or what I like to call my “This Is Living List”.

What's on YOUR Bucket List?! via

What’s on YOUR Bucket List?!

Nothing makes you consider all of the things you’ve not yet done and people you’ve not yet seen (or haven’t seen in awhile) like a death of a loved one. I got to thinking about my list, the grand itemization of things I have wanted to accomplish prior to my ultimate end.

Now, lest you think that this post ends there, here’s the cliffhanger: I’ve asked a few people about their Bucket List’s as well.

Mr. Muse’s Bucket List consisted of: “Whatever… I don’t really have any set things I want to do. I’m just open to whatever comes my way.”

My friend: various things with family and friends. (How’s that for vague? You’re welcome.)

Okay, for me? I thought about this for a while. Well, a few days. But the truth is, my list really only consists of a few things:

1. Become fluent in another language: currently I’m working on Spanish. Hola!
2. Play my trombone again in a band. (Seriously, why does this area NOT have a “City Band”!?)
3. Travel. See ALL THE THINGS before humanity destroys them.
4. Learn to play piano with the right AND left hand.
5. Experience Life. You know… All The Things. Be happy.
Consolation Prize: Maybe get over my stage fright and sing lounge songs.

It’s a small list. Expensive, but small.

At least I’m working in earnest on Items #1 & 3.

What’s on your bucket list?

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Fancy Coffee Friday: Back to Business and Getting Connected

NOTE – So… APRIL FOOLS! I mean… JULY FOOLS! Yeah, so I hit “Publish” last night when I mean “Preview”. Oopsy Whoopsy. The dangers of distracted blogging.

I considered writing up today’s post as a sharing of the second part of my sister’s eulogy, as it were, for her memorial. However, after two Friday’s in a row of rather sad posts, I decided that the fine folks (that’s you) who read my ramblings would rather I went to something other than “sad”. Admittedly, I’m sitting here, the night before I publish the post, figuratively scratching (well, half and half on the figuratively) my head about what to write that isn’t going to bring on a massive-world-wide depression epidemic.

No, my friends, I’m not depressed, but some people are just really affected by words, and that’s a lot of responsibility. So, what do I write about tonight? Well, it struck me that I’ve had a couple conversations this week that all tied into “connection”, in that we either connect with people, or we don’t.

Seriously... who does NOT find this hilarious?! Anyone? Bueller? via

Seriously… who does NOT find this hilarious?! Anyone? Bueller?

I have an uncanny knack for getting people to reveal their deepest, darkest, truest selves. True story. I’m the person on the plane who has a seat mate start spilling their life story to me, unprompted, and I politely listen and nod my head. That said, I, much to the consternation of many a person, am a cagey motherfucker. Too much attention before I’m ready raises my hackles like a junkyard dog. I give a lengthy warning bark but you know those people who just can’t seems to figure out they’ve crossed the line? They get chased off over the fence, missing some fabric from the seat of their pants. Because of that, I can assure you that even Mr. Muse does not know everything about me (he’ll be the first to confirm).

Besides, one has to keep a little mystery in their relationships, right?

But here’s the thing, I use my powers for good and not evil. I mean, I’m not completely evil. Just, partly. A little bit evil.

Because... Iceberg... and motherfucker. Via

Because… Iceberg… and motherfucker.

But, the fact of the matter is that there are a whole lot of people I associate with on some level who think they know who I am, that we have a connection. The truth is that what they see is the little, itty-bittiest part of an iceberg (I get called frigid enough that the iceberg analogy is fitting) sticking up above the water. And you know what? I like it that way.

Which brings me to those I really do connect with, Mr Muse included, because these are people who have taken the time to be respectful, interested but not even approach the “stalker” line, and who keep everything cool. Easy breezy. They are confident. They know that if we find that we don’t jive, we can shake hands and move on. I will literally wish them well.

And now we’re back full circle to my knack of finding out many people’s deepest, darkest secret-selves. Some people take this ability of mine as my interest in them – the “big” interest. The hot-damn-she-wants-me interest. Which it’s not. *sad trombone* And then I find myself in the unfortunate position of saying, “This is not what you think it is”. We haven’t developed some deep, mystical connection, they’re just east to “read” and I happened to be paying attention.

This applies to my blog as well. What you read here it just a small portion of who I am. My blog. Conversations. Life in general.

But, one must keep a little mystery in their relationships, right?


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